Bright Future Ahead For Advanced IT Skills Professionals In Knowledge Economy
The latest research has implications for the entire U.S. knowledge-based workforce. Companies that continue to structure their information technology (IT) departments in a traditional way and fail to take into account the fast-growing population of independent advanced IT skills professionals are destined to be left behind in the knowledge economy.
IT professionals are in high demand as enterprises rely increasingly on knowledge-based IT teams for their strategic initiatives and ultimately their long-term survival. But these professionals are in limited supply. This year alone, 346,000 IT-related jobs will remain unfilled, according to the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). This reality has enabled the higher-skilled segments of the IT workforce to move to a higher wage, structure, whether working full-time or as members of the rapidly growing independent IT workforce.
Large numbers of IT workers have become independent and part of the growing flexible workforce. These professionals want new contractual relationships with enterprises and rewards and incentives to match their contributions. The emerging knowledge economy is both a high-skill and high-wage marketplace, and the needs of IT workers, who begin the telecommuting trend, provide insight to the needs of other workers as more and more professionals become independent professionals.
Advanced IT Professional Profile
The information Elite describes the typical IT consultant as a male, over 36 years of age, well educated, homeowner, and married with children, who often telecommute. Of those surveyed, 43% are post-graduates, and 61% have more than 15 years industry experience. He considers himself a business owner.
Rather than “between jobs.” This consultant has made a deliberate career decision and does not intend to return to a corporate job. His income averages more than $100,000 per year and he is committed. The study shows that the four issues most critical to the independent IT Professional are:
- Financial Independence
- Challenging assignments
- Growth in skillsets
- Branding of his/her work
- Quality of life
They cherish their freedom of choice.
Since IT is a meritocracy where success is based almost purely on skills and performance, there is very little gender bias in this field, and by the year 2015, the percentage of women in the technical work force is projected to reach 30 percent. In skills, salaries and professional goals they match male IT consultants and they will become an increasingly important force in IT consulting.
The influx of middle-aged generation x equates to a shift in workplace values; more emphasis must be placed on attracting the best quality workforce by providing a flexible work environment. This will enable businesses to increasingly utilize an increasingly important force in IT consulting.
Politicians, industry watchers and advocates for the independent worker all agree that the IT consultant workforce is growing dramatically. The variance of their predictions underscores the fact that there are currently no systems in place that accurately measure this trend and the impact it will have.
It is a trend of profound significance to IT professionals and to enterprise management. Many IT specialists within enterprises – usually the best, brightest and most ambitious – are already considering independence. Our survey shows that once individuals are established as IT Professional Consultants that they will not return to corporate life. If IT trends drive the workforce, this is a precursor to a dramatic shift in how all sectors of professional knowledge-based work will be done in the next 20 years. It is wise to prepare for it.